Freshman Retreat: Blue Jays Reflect on the Call to Love
On Saturday, Sept. 19, members of the Class of 2019 gathered at Jesuit for the Freshman Retreat. The retreat focused on love, helping students develop their capacity to be men of love in their relationships with their God, their family, and their friends. “Loving” is one of the five elements in the Profile of a Graduate at the Time of Graduation. The central image of the retreat, which was referenced throughout the night, was the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Students were invited to consider the symbolism of each element of this classic devotional image and to find ways they could improve their relationships by making their love more like the love of Jesus.
The retreat began with a welcome from the director of Campus Ministry, Mr. Jeremy Reuther, and the president of Student Ministry, John Kemmerly. The first round of speakers shared with the freshmen their experiences of love in the context of their family. Seniors John Nimmo and Myles Kuss encouraged the students to find peace and support from their families and to seek out ways to be active in returning love to their parents and siblings. The freshmen then broke up into small groups to discuss their own family relationships with other members of their theology classes.
The second round of talks featured seniors Felix Rabito and Rob Hinyub, each talking about love in the context of friendship. Students were challenged to seek out friends who can be a source of encouragement in virtuous living and to be an example of virtuous living to their friends. The freshmen again broke off into small groups to discuss their own friendships under the guidance of the Student Ministry team.
The students were dismissed from their small group meetings into the hallways in anticipation of a Eucharistic Procession which wound around the second and third floors. Seeing the Lord carried throughout the school in process helped the students realized that the life of grace is not restricted to moments of prayer or participation at Mass in the chapel, but reaches out to all parts of life. Study, recreation in the Student Commons, interaction with others are all oriented towards the greater praise and service to God. Student were invited to follow the procession into the Chapel of the North American Martyrs for the sacrifice of the Mass.
Following Mass and dinner in the courtyard, students returned to the auditorium for the keynote address on chastity. The presenters were theology teacher Mr. Tim McCaffery and his wife Mrs. Jonee Dupre McCaffery, accompanied by the director of Campus Ministry, Mr. Jeremy Reuther. Central to the message of the Gospel is Jesus’ command to His disciples to love one another as He has loved them. Students were asked to see their romantic relationships in this context of Jesus’ appeal to loving as He loves, which is always pure and noble. The keynote address ended with a period of Eucharistic adoration, where the students were invited to rely on the Lord’s grace in their efforts to use their freedom for the good of others.
The Freshman Retreat is the second retreat that students make in their time at Jesuit. In addition to growing in brotherhood with their classmates, each student was provided with the space to grow in his knowledge and love of God and was encouraged in his daily walk towards holiness. The theme for the night came from the first letter of St. John: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and he who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Vital to the formation of students at Jesuit is this call to purity of heart, to love as Christ loves. As the Beatitudes reveal, it is the pure of heart who will be truly blessed, for they will see the face of God.